Gentle readers! I had the great pleasure of attending the Orc Town GT June 4-5 (2022) but then became mired in life and work upon returning home, however next week I’ll have a breather and will attempt to pound all the reports out. In the meantime, here’s abbreviated coverage of my token practice game before the GT. Enjoy!
Trident Realm 2600 Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Strength Placoderms Regiment Placoderms Regiment Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment Coral Giant Kraken Kraken Kraken Naiad Centurion – Blade of the Beast Slayer Naiad Centurion – Axe of the Giant Slayer Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2), Horn of the Ocean’s Fury Naiad Envoy – Lute of Insatiable Darkness
You read that right, 2600 points! I used the bounty of points to finally paint my Coral Giant and second Centurion, which was coincidentally all I could possibly have painted in May, the busiest month of my year thus far 😐 The list itself became a bit of a Kaiju Big Battel affair, with the return of the third Kraken, escorted by the double anti-big stuff Centurions. Also note worthy is the return of the lute, an item I’d moved away from but the Placoderms spending so much time in combat had convinced me to bring it back.
After a furious month of painting vampire infantry, my buddy was super excited to play an Undead list that fit his temperament a bit better. If and when he hit combat, he could be assured that it would hurt. I was happy to see the triple Wraiths too, he’s gone from zero chaff pieces to figuring out more and more ways to use them to control the game. Helps that Wraiths are super great. Also Ilona is here!
We played Push, and he must have won the first turn and cannily gave it to me 😛 Strap in, this is going to be largely pictorial!
You know, I think I’ve got this ‘shoot the Undead as much as possible’ strat down 😀 But it certainly helped that the Undead didn’t push into the center until it was too late to overwhelm me effectively, while tripping over themselves on the right. The Undead general had some good tactics to protect the Soul Reavers on the way in, but holding them back meant that while they might be more likely to reach combat, they’d also have to work extra hard to wrest the momentum back.
Anyway, that’s Orc Town practice out of the way! Stay tuned next week when we wade into the warm waters of Cape Code for a weekend of carnage.
Last game of Unplugged 2022 and I’m up against Pat and his gorgeous Dwarfs, as was very likely our destiny. We face each other at just about every tournament we’re at, and it’s a minor miracle that we missed each other at Dead of Winter back in February. He’s changed things up since we played at Crossroads 2021, but then COK22 has hit since then as well.
Dwarfs 1995 *Ironclad Horde – Throwing Mastiff, Hammer of Measured Force Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar *Bulwarkers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff *Bulwarkers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Sharpshooters Troop Sharpshooters Troop Sharpshooters Troop Steel Behemoth – Golloch’s Fury Berserker Lord on Brock – Blade of the Beast Slayer Stone Priest – Ej Periscope, Radiance of Life, Mind Fog (3), Scorched Earth (3) *Dwarf Army Standard Bearer *The Royal Guard Formation
For those not in the know, the Dwarf formation adds +1 Me and Nv and gives the ASB aura (Elite (Melee) Infantry) and Very Inspiring. I’m going to say that qualifies as very rad. Around this core are a cloud of shooty chaff/scenario pieces, a fast flanking force and one serious shooty / buffing monster-chariot. Altogether a tight Dwarf build looking to keep up with the meta.
Final round was Control, with the Dwarfs going first one way or another.
SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (20-0)
While this dunking couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, it felt good to get a heavy win and feel like I played competently while doing so. I certainly showed more patience with my punchy stuff than maybe ever, and while my Heartpiercers didn’t dictate the game as in the last match, I used them as the scenario pieces I designed the army around, which is a good feel of its own. I’m sure Pat and I will rematch soon enough 😀
So with this big win I ended up 2-2-1, getting the 50% record I always try for. Happily I also got 4th best sports, which helped put me at I think 11 of 18 in the final ranking? Not bad at all for how heavy the field was.
Thanks for reading all these, and big thanks to the crew at Unplugged Gamers for putting the GT on. I’m thrilled I could make it out after a few years away, looking forward to next year.
UP NEXT: 2600 points of mayhem at the Orc Town GT early June!
Unplugged Day Two dawns with me up against my clubmate and tournament bunk buddy Drew and his Undead. We’ve scrummed a number of times, but never at 1995? And certainly not with his shiny new Werewolves or Wraiths.
I continue to be shocked by how good Wights are, tho I probably shouldn’t be at this point 😛 He’s replaced his Ghoul chaff with Wraith chaff and swapped out excessive Zombie regiments with a half pack of Werewolves looking to do things like move at the double. I’m surprised he’s done so poorly to be down here with me but I think he had some hard match-ups in day one.
Fourth round was Salt the Earth, again with tokens pre-placed on the map. The Undead went first, either because he’s slow or I wanted to shoot his dudes.
What. A. Journey. I felt like this was a breakthrough game for me where my deployment was sound and I fully recognized my shooting advantage and really made the most of it. Throwing the right Kraken away was a bummer and would have changed the game wildly if I held onto him, although I really wanted him to dive into the Undead backfield to clear out those Zombies / force him to burn those tokens I otherwise couldn’t get to. Also Wights are frustratingly good and make surge just so much more viable than it usually is (in my head), but you certainly pay for it. Wraiths on the other hand, damn, that’s some value right there. Finally, I’m more and more convinced that I need Lute back in the list, more than I need the trident, almost entirely because it helps the Placoderms do anything. Spoilers I guess for my next list.
With my sweet 4 points, I’m matched up against a gorgeous Moorish (?) army likewise wallowing down here at the bottom. Wyatt’s a good guy with some serious tools in his list, who must have been smacked by some heavies in the first couple rounds.
Brothermark 1995 Order of the Abyssal Hunt Regiment – Blessing of the Gods *Paladin Knights Regiment – Aegis Fragment, Potion of the Caterpillar *Paladin Knights Regiment – Aegis Fragment, Boots of Striding Men-at-Arms Spearmen Horde – Veteran Command, Hammer of Measured Force Villein Bowmen Horde – Fire-Oil Villein Skirmishers Troop *High Paladin on Dragon – Staying Stone Exemplar Hunter on Horse – The Gauntlet, Scythe of the Harvester Exemplar Chaplain on Horse – Battle Hymns, Knowledgeable, Host Shadowbeast (8), Crown of the Wizard King Exemplar Chaplain – Battle Hymns, Zephyr Crown *Defenders of Righteousness Formation
He walked me through the Exemplar Hunter + Shadowbeast wombo-combo, which definitely has legs, especially against individuals (thanks to duellist) but really anything (thanks to both rampage and slayer). Otherwise it’s three serious knight units, one helluva dragon, and some loathsome peasant Nerve blocks / scenario pieces. He did admit at some point that there’s a severe lack of inspiring, calling it a “design flaw” 😀
Third round was Pillage, with the seven tokens already placed on the map. Brothermark went first whether or not they wanted to.
SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (16-4)
There’s a different version of this game where Wyatt didn’t go so ham into a charge I wanted him to take, but I also think my list matches pretty well into his, with my phalanx, speed and rampage (also guns). He had some misgivings about his choices in our game, but wore it well. For me, I won’t pretend finishing Day 1 with a win didn’t feel great. After this we got grub and partied at the house of the TO, which was super nice of him and his spouse.
Game two sees me hurtling down to the depths to face a really quite competent Nightstalkers player I’ve never met who must have faced a real heavy first game to get dunked down here with me. Anyway, without further ado:
Nightstalkers 1995 Fiends Horde – Mead of Madness Butchers Horde Butchers Horde Butchers Horde Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5) Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5) Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5) Phantoms Troop Planar Apparition – Heal (7), Mind Fog (2) Mind-screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6) Mind-screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6) Portal of Despair
Lots to like here. Enough Soulflayers to take advantage of the new hotness without being abusive, decent mix of support monsters, bit of an old school flair with the triple Butchers, and the Portal for style points. Could certainly be tuned but its got lots of tools to work with.
Second round was Loot, and he went first either by choice or command.
NIGHTSTALKER VICTORY (16-4)
While Stealthy is a royal pain for me, most of his army being De 4+ gave me hope for gaining some momentum and having a fighting chance at two tokens … but that early lucky rout of the Kraken holding down his left flank had me scrambling. Compound that by the Centurion doing a collective 1 damage all game (!), and canny use of windblast by my opponent, and I was just too many steps behind to claw back the Nightstalkers’ early lead. Fun match tho, with loads of interplay. Getting that lucky pop on the hexed Planar Apparition was a feel good moment amongst the frustration.
My run at the Unplugged GT 2022 kicked off with a rematch vs the Basilean army I was thoroughly trounced by at Dead of Winter mere weeks before. While a cute coincidence, I was all for it, as it’s one of my favorite Kings of Warmachine armies out there and it’s marshaled by a gem of a player.
But first, a reminder of my army for this event:
I was super excited to see him field units I hadn’t seen, and I gather he was pushed to leave the Men-at-Arms horde at home and lean harder into speed with the cav regiments. He had misgivings, and personally I was hoping my Placoderms’ phalanx would put in work in what was otherwise a tentative match for me.
First round was Dominate, and he won the roll for initiative and gave it to me. Canny angels.
… except there is no after photo, this is it. The Centurion fails to wound those Elohi, neither Placoderm regiment drops their target (0 on the Elohi, 3 on Sammy) ensuring their deaths, and the Kraken boops the Palace Guard to 7. Heartpiercers stick 3 damage on the strength Knights, continuing to ignore the Elohi horde which I never remembered was Def 4+ for swapping their shields out. I took a lot of risks this turn and would definitely pay for that shortly.
BASILEAN VICTORY (20-0)
Zero points, ouch! I’m a big proponent of blackjack for this very reason, getting zero’d is rough, kids. Chris played great and had great dice throughout, while I had that early shooting result and had my errors compounded by cold dice. Even deploying the Water Elementals that far to the right was a mistake, but they tend to cause me trouble in deployment, as I want them to clean things up but the base is big and my line is full of Heartpiercers who want to shoot Unfortunately for the Basileans, this win catapulted them up into the winners bracket, where they were slapped around by stronger armies game after game. Sorry, bud.
The Unplugged GT was held April 23-24 in Milford, MA, delivering on its promise of five great games of Kings of War with a lovely bunch of gentlemen. Lists were 1995 points and, while I had originally planned on taking a very Herd-centric version of The Hallow with a bunch of new units, I found that I really didn’t like actually playing the army, which involved lots of positioning, waiting, and then doing next to nothing when allowed to fight. I’ve got photos of THE HALLOW 16: OGRES, but I think I’ll keep that drubbing unreported for now.
Which meant I would be taking crabs to Unplugged after their lukewarm showing at Dead of Winter! I was on the whole ok with this – I like playing them, even when losing, and they feel like they have tools to keep me engaged despite having a pretty low ceiling. I spent April updating the paint on them: green accents swapped to blue, claw tips blackened and glossed, brighter bone highlights here and there, and tufts everywhere. Time well spent and I’m happy I returned to zazz the crustaceans up a bit.
I managed to get one practice game in a few days before the tournament, so consider this report a prelude to the full Unplugged report. Strap in.
You’re damn right that’s my 2100 list minus the Depth Horror Eternal but with the wand instead of #warbow 😉 It was a toss-up between the fury aura or hex on the second Envoy, however the existence of Nightstalkers and Ogres convinced me to go with wand. Would I regret it and doom the Placos to a wavered hell??
My clubmate continues to rock his Ogres, but this time with an excuse to bring his big blue Mierce demon to the table. Happily Void Lurkers are pretty legit (people try to tell me otherwise but I disagree, they’re still one of the few dragons I respect). The rest of the list is all bangers, with the main downside being no dedicated chaff to speak of, save for the Bully and Scarecrows. The Crocodog was the thing I most curious to see in action, since it’s new and shiny and weird. Which is ironic to say now given what happened in this game …
We rolled up Dominate, I won the roll for initiative and made the Ogres go first.
Trident 2: Feeling tired and saucy, I unleash the crabs a turn early or so (never a good sign!), sending the left Kraken + Placoderms (hindered) into the Boomers. The intent is to crack them and turn to face the oncoming threats to left and right. The wavered Heartpiercers regen down to 3 damage, then their cohorts spike 3 damage on the Siege Breakers (I low key forgot they had Def 6+ :P) and 0 on the Void Lurker. I also tire of being gamey with the left Hunters and press the Water Elemental horde forward, curious to see how that grind works, but confident it buys me a couple turns. Bastion stays on the left Kraken.
Trident 6: Said Placoderms poke ineffectively at the Chariots and I’m guessing the Kraken fluffed. Without a Turn 7 (blessedly!), this isn’t a tabling but it is an …
What a beat down, with an early assist from hot, hot rout dice to really rub my face in it. Not to just blame the dice, I made a few bad decisions and engaged too early, when shooting could have used another turn to work over the ‘softer’ Ogre units. The Void was always going to be a problem, tho he played a pretty passive game compared to what I expected, not that he needed to go ham. Spoilers for the tournament, my opponent this game would go on to win the Unplugged GT! Great showing for a strong player and fairly unique Ogre list.
Speaking of the Unplugged GT, stay tuned for the reports, which kick off with me rematching the Basilean army I played at Dead of Winter!
A weekend or two after Dead of Winter, a clubmate struggled the 0.7 miles to my house and we threw a couple games down, along with quite a few beers. First game saw me messing with 1995 points of Abyssals, in what I’m pretty sure is my first game with the faction? I may hold on to the report for that game, due to loathesome proxies on my part. More importantly, I busted out Bloodfire after grabbing dinner and we threw down a second facesmasher of a match. Strap in.
Salamanders 1995 Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Greater Fire Elemental
Clan Lord – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Raptor Clan Lord – Torc of Dissonance, Raptor Mage-Priest – Crown of the Wizard King, Fireball (10), Surge (8), Host Shadowbeast (8) Battle Captain on Rhinosaur – Inspiring Talisman
Canny readers will notice that this is the Shadowbeast version of the last time I played Bloodfire, with the Torc on one Raptor Lord because it seems good to have around and you can pop it in the shooting phase while eating somebody’s face in the combat phase. I was pumped to give the list – and Host Shadowbeast – a shot.
Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon – Icy Breath (10), Surge (8), Lightning Bolt (4) Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Drain Life (4)
This is more or less his 2300 cut down because I asked him to make a 1995 😐 He’s really down on the dragon (I AGREE) but the vampires he’s churning out for the next version of the army aren’t done yet, 335 point sink it is. The Wraiths are the newest addition, which he’s loving. I’ve fought them plenty of times in other Undead armies and continue to be surprised at how just good they are!
We rolled up Raze, and I won and took first turn, because shambling.
The Revenants are demolished, thanks in large part to the GFE doing 7-8 damage on 8 attaks. While the Werewolves don’t take appreciable damage from the Raptor Lord, the Undead concede as the wolves can at best drop the Raptor Lord, and very likely get wrecked in Turn 7 by Fire Elementals no matter what they do. With 4 points to the Undead’s 1, that’s a convincing …
Though it felt a little bad styling on my clubmate so thoroughly, it’s always fun to slam Bloodfire into armies that also want to fight. I’m really enjoying the double Raptor Lords, and Shadowbeast, while not particularly game-breaking on Clan Lords (especially when you consider what the Mage-Priest costs!), is a lot of fun. Crown of the Wizard King is particularly wonderful on a short support caster whose best surge targets (Greater Fire Elementals) are taller than everything around her.
Last game of the tournament and I’m up against Justin, a real gent who’s had the same mixed bag of games that I have. He’s rocking a pure Mantic army that I think was designed to proxy as different armies, but might just be made from various Mantic kits that were available to pull together into one reptilian facebreaker of an army. Without further ado:
Salamanders 2100 Tyrants Horde – Brew of Sharpness, Effigy of Fire Tyrants Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar, Effigy of Fire Tyrants Horde – Boots of Striding, Effigy of Fire Rhinosaur Cavalry Regiment Rhinosaur Cavalry Regiment Ghekkotah Warriors Troop Ghekkotah Warriors Troop Greater Fire Elemental – Fireball (8) Greater Fire Elemental – Fireball (8)
Rakawas, The Pale Rider Mage-Priest – Sacred Horn, Surge (8), Veil of Shadows (3) Artakl
As a player of a facebreaker Salamander army, I can respect it. Tyrants with fixer items, both thicc and true chaff, double oh-so-satisfying Me3+ GFEs and a Priest to shove them into flanks, and two baller living legends. Apparently he had brought Veil to deal with all the Elves and kin in the meta, but had had the good fortune of not playing any shooting army until my crabs. (For the record, Twilight and Sylvan Kin had quickly stormed up the tables and had been scrumming up there with Jason’s Nightstalkers in the mix.)
Final scenario is good ol’ Dominate, and he goes first probably because I made him. Justin is a smart player and I doubt he’d miss the opportunity to leave my shooting out to dry for a turn.
BATTLE: GAME 5
Once all the roaring of the combat phase dies down, the Placoderms are dead but otherwise the crabs hold tight. The flanking GFE does 9(?) damage to the left Kraken, Rakawas chomps a hearty 6 into the ensnaring Centurion, and the cheeky Ghekkos do 2 to the Heartpiercers and waver them. Well played, tiny garbage lizards.
We came within 70 points on attrition as well, so just about a down the line draw. Which was a happy end to a smasher of a game – I gave Justin my bests sports, as he really was a gent and knew his rules super well (apart from Artakl’s duelist maybe). This was also a fine close to the tournament. Going 2-2-1 is absolutely cool in my book, playing a selection of armies is even better, with no repeats and just the one Elf. I did get dumpstered on paint yet again, which sucks when the army was a bear to paint and always gets such a good reception from other players, but I was given some pointers on adding pop to the army, which I’ve taken to heart and will be trying to do before the crabs roll out again … which might be sooner than you think 😉
I was pretty down on Trident Realm after the event, and had a good talk with another NE regular about the faction’s struggle to play the meta. As he put it, they’re a finesse army playing in a game that increasingly isn’t about finesse. Our hammers are the anvils of other armies, which totally checks out when you look at what Kraken are good at (spoiler: it isn’t really killing) and how my strongest hammer is a juiced up Water Elemental horde.
All the same, I enjoyed the bag of tools feel to the army, loved the Centurion with the trident, and continue to enjoy the scenario-minded shooting of the Heartpiercer regiments. Placoderms were fine, but they could really use anything else. Vicious would be great but I’d be happy with fury – I hear the Envoy has a fury aura?? Hmm …
Anyway, thanks for reading! I’ve got a couple more random facesmasher games to report on post-tournament, so stay tuned.
Sunday morning and I’m the least hungover I’ve ever been on the second day of a tournament, which is a good thing because I’ve got some work ahead of me. I’m matched up against Chris, a good player with a smart, aggressive army (and one of my favorites kicking around the Northeast – I’m a sucker for a Kings of Warmachine armies, even if his is sharing the bill with Warhammer minis :P) In my head I’ve already lost, but getting 6 points would be rad, maybe even a draw with some luck??
Basileans 2100 Elohi Horde – Brew of Strength Elohi Horde – Helm of the Drunken Ram Ogre Palace Guard Horde – Chalice of Wrath Ogre Palace Guard Horde – Dwarven Ale Men-at-Arms Spearmen Horde Gur Panthers Troop Gur Panthers Troop
High Paladin on Dragon – Aegis Fragment Samacris, Mother of Phoenixes – Fireball (8), Heal (5) Dictator – Iron Discipline, Lute of Insatiable Darkness
An anemic 10 drops but packed with some serious beef. Flying elite hammers are my kryptonite, especially in such volume, and he’s also rocking one of the other mega dragons of the game. Blessedly no longer fearless but demanding of respect to be sure.
Fourth scenario is Raze, which happily I was able to practice with my crabs before the tournament. He went first, either by choice or because I made him.
BATTLE: GAME 4
BASILEAN VICTORY (3-18)
Wheeeew, what a match. I was a little frustrated, as I tried so hard and came close to getting the 6-15 I had set out for, but looking back it’s pretty clear that I got my fair share of breaks when a significant part of his army was mired in my deployment zone for the entire game. Thinking about it, terrain was pretty important for me getting so little use out of my shooters, along with savvy target selection from him and poor counter assault setup by me. I’m impressed it was as much of a match as it was, tho it was certainly a joy to play Chris, a player I may never have played but seen out plenty.